What to expect at the PX4 Developer Summit 2022

We’re two weeks out from the PX4 Developer Summit 2022. And if you’re looking for 2022 drone events related to the open source side of the drone industry, then there’s no better event than this.

While the PX4 Developer Summit 2022 does center around the PX4 Ecosystem, expect plenty of sessions around all aspects of the drone industry with a focus on the open-source community. Expect to learn from and network with the maintainers, contributors, and critical stakeholders advancing open-source drone technology.

The 2022 edition of the annual flagship conference hosted by the Dronecode Foundation includes a first: this is the first time the show has been held in the U.S. More specifically, the event will take place at the JW Marriott Austin in Austin, Texas on June 23 and 24.

The only other in-person event was held back in 2019 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and it drew about 200 developers from 20 countries. Then, the past two years of the conference were entirely virtual. Though, the virtual component isn’t going away completely, as you can buy a virtual pass to watch videos of sessions and keynotes. What’s nice about that virtual component, too, is mega cost-savings. Where individual conference passes cost $450, the virtual pass is just $50 (though note its limitations, as you won’t necessarily get entire access, especially for physical-centric sessions like networking events.

Here’s the full pricing breakdown of the PX4 Developer Summit 2022:

PX4 Developer Summit 2022 pricing cost fee

What to expect at the PX4 Developer Summit 2022

Among the organizations set to send representatives includes NASA, Auterion, MathWorks, NXP Semiconductors, and UVify. Other open-source technologies on display besides PX4 are set to include MAVLink, QGroundControl, and ROS 2.

Beyond the usual keynotes, seminars and workshops, some unique highlights are set to include a drone light show put on by UVify. There’s also a “Jobs Theater,” as a career fair of sorts. Plus, attendees can tour the Center for Autonomous Robotics on Saturday, June 25. Oh, and you might have a chance to win free Pixhawk hardware — among other swag up for grabs.

Some of the top speakers to look out for at the PX4 Developer Summit 2022 include:

  • Lorenz Meier, Chief Executive Officer of Auterion (keynote)
  • Brian Behlendorf, General Manager, OpenSSF
  • Tully Foote, ROS Platform Manager, Open Robotics
  • Robert McSwain, Aerospace Engineer, NASA
  • Ramón Roche, General Manager, Dronecode Foundation
  • Katherine Scott, Developer Advocate, Open Robotics
  • Paul Stubbs, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft

You can register for the PX4 Developer Summit 2022 here.

PX4 also shared the demographics of last year’s virtual event, which might give you an idea of what crowd to expect at this one:

PX4 Developer Summit 2021 Attendee Demographics

What is Pixhawk, PX4 and open source?

PX4 is an open source flight control software primarily for drones, but appropriate for other unmanned vehicles as well. And Pixhawk is an advanced autopilot; the Pixhawk 4 was designed and made in a collaboration between the Holybro and the PX4 team.

And what does open source even mean? In short, an open-source drone operates via a a free-use license that’s openly and publicly worked on by developers — and which others can constantly build upon and theoretically improve it. That’s in contrast to a closed-source product typically built by one individual company, which considers its technology and software to be proprietary. Open source projects within the drone world include flight control software, communication protocols and battery management systems.

And these days, most open source drone projects are facilitated through the Dronecode Foundation, which is the team behind this conference and a U.S.-based, vendor-neutral non-profit foundation for open source drone projects. It operates under the Linux Foundation and has received support from big players like Microsoft.

“The open ecosystem is thriving, and adopters are reaping the benefits of open collaboration by embracing standards they can use to interface with each other,” said Ramón Roche, one of the conference speakers and General Manager of the Dronecode Foundation.

In fact, drone brands leveraging open-source tech account now for 16% of all commercial drones out there (and they account for 60% of all non-DJI drones), according to a report from commercial drone research group Drone Analyst on the rise of open source drones. Among the most notable companies contributing to the open source drone community include consulting firm Drone Solutions, AirMap, which works on a number of projects including Remote ID and UTM; and drone delivery company Volansi. There’s also Auterion, the largest open-source drone software platform in the world

“Open source is way more than software, and companies are beginning to notice the many benefits of open collaboration,” Roche said.

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